Way before any of the signs of hormones appear, parents/carers need to be thinking about teaching the skills to deal with them.

Training bras, menstruation, relationships, masturbation and hormones are all words that can strike fear in the heart of a parent of a pre-teen with Down syndrome.

Dealing with these topics with a little thought and sensitivity will go a long way toward helping your child adjust to the changes in their bodies, increase their independence and develop their identity, self esteem and self worth.

Some suggested resources:

Teaching children with Down syndrome about their body’s, boundaries and sexuality

In an easy-to-read, non-clinical style, the book covers relevant issues and concerns for children of all ages
Top 10 Questions: on DOWN SYNDROME and SEXUALITY from expert TERRI COUWENHOVEN, M.S.

An overview of the development of teenagers with Down syndrome (11-16 years) – Sue Buckley & Ben Sacks

Social development for individuals with Down syndrome - An overview

Special Girls Business, Special Boys Business, Puberty and Special Girls all available from SGB Pty Ltd

Down Syndrome Society of South Australia Right to Know series

Family Planning Victoria – Disability Resource Library

Self-help skills - Down Syndrome Ireland

Turning 16 - Fact sheet
(Adobe PDF File)

People with Down syndrome experience the same range of sexual feelings as everyone else.

Although some emotional changes may occur a little later than in people without Down syndrome; young people with Down syndrome will essentially be just like any other teenager.

Teens with Down syndrome experience the same changes in puberty as all adolescents, though these changes may be slightly delayed for boys with Down syndrome.

Whilst information surrounding fertility levels in men with Down syndrome is unclear, it is advisable that couples use contraception whenever pregnancy prevention is preferred.

Education around public vs private behaviours, relationships and sexuality is an important part of developing a positive, socially acceptable, age appropriate and safe sexual behaviour for individuals with Down syndrome.

You may be interested in participating in Down Syndrome Victoria's 'Moving to Teens | Going to Secondary School' workshop. Click here to check out our training calendar.